The European Copernicus service reported on Thursday that global average temperatures in early June were the hottest on record for the period, beating previous records by a “substantial margin” – a likely foretaste of the El Nino phenomenon.
Hot snap on the planet. Global average temperatures at the start of June were the warmest ever recorded for this period by the European Copernicus service, beating previous records by a “substantial margin” – a likely foretaste of the El Nino phenomenon.
“The world has just experienced the warmest start to June on record, following a May that was just 0.1°C colder than the record,” stressed Samantha Burgess, deputy director of the European Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), in a statement released on Thursday June 15.
“Average global surface air temperatures for the first few days of June were the highest recorded in the ERA5 dataset for early June, and by a substantial margin,” says Copernicus, some of whose data go back as far as 1950.
“An upward trend”
“This is not surprising, as there is an upward trend” in temperatures, and “we knew that when an El Nino event develops, it tends to raise temperatures by a few tens of degrees”, commented François-Marie Bréon, deputy director of the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE), interviewed by AFP.
These readings come at a time when the El Nino meteorological phenomenon, generally associated with a rise in global temperatures, has officially begun, as Copernicus points out. Copernicus also recently announced that the ocean surface had just experienced the warmest May on record.
“If a year is particularly hot, it’s not necessarily significant, but what is significant is the trend, which shows an increase in temperatures of around 2 tenths of a degree per decade”, stresses François-Marie Bréon.
Copernicus also points out that in early June, global temperatures exceeded pre-industrial levels by more than 1.5°C, which is the most ambitious warming limit in the 2015 Paris Agreement. This is the first time this limit has been crossed in June, but it has been crossed several times in winter and spring in recent years.
Fossil fuels at stake
The Paris agreement aims to keep the increase in global average temperature “well below 2°C”, and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C instead. “Every fraction of a degree counts to avoid even more serious consequences of the climate crisis”, stressed Samantha Burgess.
Copernicus is based in Bonn, where international climate negotiations are currently being held under the aegis of the UN, ahead of the major COP28 meeting scheduled to take place in Dubai at the end of the year. The question of mankind’s use of fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas), the main causes of global warming, will be hotly debated at this event.
“El Nino years have always been warm, but they are now occurring in a context of warming fuelled by the use of fossil fuels, decade after decade, which has made extreme temperatures more likely,” points out Richard Hodgkins, Professor of Physical Geography at Britain’s Loughborough University.